Meet the Member Daniel Taylor
story by Ruth Nicolaus At the suggestion of a good friend, Daniel Taylor began his Colorado High School Rodeo Association career last fall. The Greeley, […]
story by Siri Stevens
Leo Veatch won the light rifle shooting short go at the National High School Finals, and ended up fifth in the world in that event. He shot trap as well, but didn’t make the short go. He also competes in calf roping and team roping as a heeler.
The 17-year-old from Agate, Colorado, has just started his junior year, attending Agate High School for concurrent college classes in Algebra, English composition, and a computer class. The rest of his studies are done at home. His plan is to attend college and compete on a rifle team. “After that, I’d like to go to Concordia Seminary and become a pastor. Once you graduate from seminary, they send you to a congregation. I feel that has always been a calling in my life,” he said of his desire to pastor a church.
Leo got his start in rodeo from his family. “Roping and rodeo is a generational family thing – both my grandparents rope and they, along with my parents (Carrie and Casey), have always helped me for as long as I can remember.” Leo has a little sister, Dot, going into sixth grade and beginning junior high rodeo. She competes in pole bending, breakaway, and light rifle shooting.
“I’ve always shot and hunted; it was something I did with my grandpa. It was natural for me to start there and that introduced me to competitive shooting. I’m grateful to the high school rodeo for having shooting events.” Along with High School Rodeo, Leo also competes in the International 10 meter air rifle. “The targets we shoot at are the size of a quarter and the bullseye is the size of George Washington’s eye, or a period in 12 point font.” Last year, Leo was reserve Light Rifle Champion, qualified for the junior Olympics and was a silver medalist in the 2020 Olympic Trials Part 2 for his age division.
Leo heads to Colorado Springs two times a week to shoot with the National Training Center team, a round trip time of more than three hours. “I think any shooting is relaxing,” he said. “I never get tired of it.” He divides his time between practicing shooting and practicing his rodeo events. “We rope at night when it’s cool and shoot in the morning. My sister shoots with me most of the time.”
The Veatchs live on a cattle ranch, where Leo helps his grandpa with his cow/calf operation. “We just finished the second round of vaccines for the calves and this time of year we check water and make sure the cows are doing well.” Leo enjoys riding on the ranch, along with practicing on BamBam, his tie down roping horse and his 21-year-old heel horse, Babe. “We’re out in the country quite a ways, and I can hunt and shoot and rodeo. I really like it.” Duck and goose hunting are part of Leo’s love of the rural lifestyle, and he says the game is best cooked wrapped in bacon and cream cheese.
“I will always be part of the rural ranching lifestyle that has taught me so much. I’m part of a seven generation family ranch in Agate and will continue the family legacy for as long as I am able.”
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